The Trudy Haynes Reporting Fellowship, named after Philadelphia's first female African American television reporter Trudy Haynes, was developed in partnership with Haynes by PhillyCAM, a community media center that provides creative resources and media training for Philadelphians. This was the first year of the six-week fellowship for 15 fellows who successfully developed collaborative broadcasting projects which aired on the media center's community news show, PhillyCAM Voices. Two of those fellows were Afea Tucker, KLN '07, and Saudia Durrant, KLN '15, who applied their already extensive knowledge of communication to this new opportunity.
Applicants to the fellowship were required to be PhillyCAM members. Once accepted by a committee, fellows were introduced to the building blocks of broadcast journalism and teamed up for journalism projects focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fellowship, led by celebrated journalist Ernest Owens, gave the fellows opportunities to learn from their cohort, veteran journalists including Haynes herself and guest speakers who contributed their expertise.
Tucker was interested in the fellowship because she considers herself a "forever student." After graduating from Klein College of Media and Communication, the communication studies alumna spent years as a public relations consultant before deciding to return to journalism as a columnist for the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and a media correspondent for other local publications. She discovered the fellowship through the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, where she serves on the executive board as the organization's secretary. Even learning how to report and interview subjects using the somewhat impersonal medium of video conferencing technology did not deter her enthusiasm.
"It's not a traditional form of broadcast but I feel like that move to be a part of the Trudy Haynes Fellowship kind of gave me the confidence that I needed to pitch doing a social media web series from that, that's a part of what I do professionally now for the Philadelphia Sunday Sun."
Durrant is a Klein broadcast journalism graduate who applied to the fellowship because she wanted to further her skills and connect with like-minded media professionals. During her time at Klein, the then-recent death of Trayvon Martin inspired her to focus on how she could blend social justice activism and journalism. After graduating, Durrant went on to combine her two interests by working with several community organizations, most recently with the Philadelphia student advocacy group the Philadelphia Student Union as a full-time organizer. For the fellowship, she worked on a broadcast about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on The School District of Philadelphia. She found the instruction and networking opportunities much needed, saying "I don't see that many resources out that allow people to talk directly with successful journalists or successful Black journalists and journalists of color or queer journalists."
As a pioneering journalist, 93-year-old Haynes is a worthy namesake for such a fellowship. Though she is officially retired, she remains active in the Philadelphia community and contributes to local journalism initiatives. She is also the host of the weekly PhillyCAM broadcast The Trudy Haynes Show. Tucker and Durrant, both Black women, recognize that Haynes' involvement in the fellowship was key in their attraction to the program.
"I thought that was wonderful how she was very much involved and I definitely think it's so gracious and wonderful for PhillyCAM to honor her in such a way, to create a fellowship named after her," says Tucker.
Watch PhillyCAM Voices on YouTube.